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Yahoo hack steals personal info from at least 500M accounts

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Computer hackers swiped personal information from at least 500 million Yahoo accounts in what is believed to be the biggest digital break-in at an email provider.

The massive security breakdown disclosed Thursday poses new headaches for Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer as she scrambles to close a $4.8 billion sale to Verizon Communication.

The breach Thursday dates back to late 2014, raising questions about the checks and balances within Yahoo — a fallen internet star that has been laying off staff to counter a steep drop in revenue during the past eight years.


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US home sales fell in August as inventories plummet

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans retreated from home-buying in August, as a worsening inventory shortage appears to be hurting sales and pushing prices higher.

Housing has been a bright spot amid weak economic growth for much of this year. Sales totals continue to recover from the Great Recession. Buyers increasingly have pristine credit. But the primary weakness in housing has been a lack of properties for sale.

Sales of existing homes slipped 0.9 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.33 million, the second straight monthly decline, the National Association of Realtors said Thursday.


US claims for jobless aid slide to lowest level since July

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell last week to the lowest level since July, more evidence that U.S. workers are enjoying job security.

The Labor Department said Thursday that jobless claims slid by 8,000 to a seasonally adjusted 252,000. That matched the level in mid-July, which was the lowest since April. The less-volatile four-week average fell by 2,250 to 258,500. Weekly claims have come in below 300,000 for 81 straight weeks, longest such streak since 1970.

The number of people collecting unemployment benefits is 2.11 million, down nearly 6 percent from a year ago.


Stocks gain moderately, led by high-dividend sectors

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks posted solid gains on Thursday as investors, comfortable that the Federal Reserve will keep interest rates low, bought up stocks that pay big dividends.

Real estate companies rose as investors looked for income, as did telecom stocks, which also typically pay higher-than-average dividends.

Trading followed a pattern that has become familiar in the last several months. After hesitating or worrying that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates, investors piled into high-dividend stocks following yet another Fed decision to stand pat on interest rates.


US average 30-year mortgage rate declines to 3.48 percent

WASHINGTON (AP) — Long-term U.S. mortgage rates edged lower this week.

Mortgage giant Freddie Mac said Thursday the average for the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage declined to 3.48 percent from 3.50 percent last week. The benchmark rate is down from 3.86 percent a year ago, and is close to its all-time low of 3.31 percent in November 2012.

The 15-year fixed mortgage rate eased to 2.76 percent from 2.77 percent.


AP Moller-Maersk splits its shipping, energy operations

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Danish conglomerate A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S is splitting its massive container shipping operations and its energy business into separate companies, in a major shakeup that follows years of declining oil prices and freight rates.

The Copenhagen-based group said Thursday the transport and logistics division will include its shipping, terminal and container businesses, while the energy division will handle oil drilling and production as well as the tanker business.

A.P. Moller-Maersk raised the possibility of separating its oil units from the group through joint ventures, mergers or listings.


Hanjin Shipping to get more funds to resolve cargo crisis

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Hanjin Shipping is set to receive as much as $100 million in additional funds to resolve the cargo crisis caused by its slide toward bankruptcy.

Hanjin's lead creditor, Korea Development Bank, said Thursday it will offer a credit line of 50 billion won ($45 million) to help the shipper unload cargo stranded offshore. The announcement comes a day after Korean Air Lines' board approved a 60 billion won ($54 million) loan to the troubled ocean shipping line.

Even with the help of the bank, it was not clear if the new funds would be enough to solve the cargo crisis.


Wal-Mart to face class-action over alleged bribery in Mexico

NEW YORK (AP) — A federal judge has granted class-action status to Wal-Mart investors suing the world's largest retailer over allegations that it covered up a bribery scheme in Mexico to help its business there.

The allegations included that Wal-Mart's Mexican unit paid millions of dollars in bribes to speed building permits and gain other favors.

"Judicial economy and the best interests of the class members favor class certification," U.S. District Judge Susan Hickey wrote.

Randy Hargrove, a spokesman for Bentonville, Arkansas-based Wal-Mart, said the company is considering its options, including an appeal.


Lennar and WCI join to create powerhouse in Florida

NEW YORK (AP) — Lennar will spend $643 million to acquire luxury homebuilder WCI Communities Inc., tying up two of the largest home construction companies in Florida as the U.S. real estate market continues to heat up.

The deal, for $23.50 per share, marks a 37 percent premium to WCI's closing price Wednesday. It will be half in cash and half in Lennar stock.

The boards of both companies have approved the deal, which must still get the nod from WCI shareholders.


Tesla update halts automatic steering if driver inattentive

DETROIT (AP) — Tesla Motors says a software update to its Autopilot system will disable automatic steering if drivers don't keep their hands on the wheel.

The update also adds multiple features, including improved radar, better voice commands and an industry-first temperature control system that helps prevent kids and pets from overheating.

Tesla started moving the update to Model X SUV and Model S sedan owners Wednesday night over the internet.

Critics questioned whether the system, which was released last fall, was ready to be on the road after a driver using Autopilot was killed when his Model S sedan struck a tractor-trailer.


Turkish central bank cuts rate to boost slowing economy

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey's central bank cut a key interest rate for the seventh month in a row as it tries to shore up an economy that has been shaken by a series of bombings and an attempted coup.

Voicing what appeared to be increasing worries over the scale of the country's economic slowdown, the bank cut its overnight marginal funding rate to 8.25 percent from 8.5 percent. That means the rate has fallen by 2.5 percentage points since March.

The lower rate is intended to help banks borrow more cheaply from day to day, which could help keep the financial system running smoothly at a time of heightened uncertainty.


The Dow Jones industrial average gained 98.76 points, or 0.5 percent, to 18,392.46. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 14.06 points, or 0.7 percent, to 2,177.18. The Nasdaq composite added 44.34 points, or 0.8 percent, to a record 5,339.52.

U.S. benchmark crude rose 98 cents to close at $46.32 a barrel, while Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 82 cents to close at $47.65 a barrel. In other energy commodities, heating oil rose 2.5 cents to $1.45 a gallon, wholesale gasoline rose less than 1 cent to $1.40 a gallon and natural gas fell 7 cents to $2.99 per 1,000 cubic feet.